I am lucky enough to know many talented knitwear designers, as well as many talented knitters. And for the most part the only thing that separates those groups is that one publishes patterns and the other doesn’t. But there is one topic that I have found these two groups tend to treat differently – garment ease.
What is ease? Ease is the difference in size between the finished object and the person wearing it, generally measured at the bust. So positive ease means the garment is larger than the person’s bust, no ease means they’re the same size, and negative ease means the garment is smaller.
Generally, I see designers embracing ease. They publish patterns with many inches of positive ease and encourage their customers to knit with the designed fit. And I see so many knitters nervous about following the suggested ease. They feel like they’ll drown in an oversized garment and knit smaller sizes they feel comfortable with.
I think many knitters are uncomfortable with ease because they think a larger garment will make them look fat. They find it scary to make a garment as big as an oversized one. First of all, this belief is false and oversized garments do not automatically make a person look larger. And second of all, so what if they do? Why is it so important to signal thinness?
The other thing I think knitters who reject ease end up rejecting is comfort. Garments with more ease are literally easier to move in. The word “oversized” immediately conjures images of sweats, worn while lounging. Don’t we all deserve, and need, more comfort in our lives? It is such an act of self-care to spend time crafting something that will bring you comfort each time you wear it.
There are many wonderful styles of clothing in the world, and I want more of us to consider positive ease as part of our sartorial playbook. It can look put together and fashionable just as much as close-fitting clothing – that comes down to proportions and fit in specific areas like the shoulders. I want us to worry less about looking fat in our clothes and focus more on how they make us feel. I want us to clothe ourselves so we can move freely and feel enveloped in comfort. I want us to be at ease.